2016 Volvo S60 T5 Inscription FWD Review

Friday March 4th, 2016 at 11:33 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2016 Volvo S60 T5 Inscription FWD

By David Colman

Hypes: Beautifully Crafted, Ultra Comfortable Interior
Gripes: Unwieldy Suspension, Poorly Indexed Owner’s Manual

When Geely, the Indian automaker, took Volvo off Ford’s hands several years ago, many fans of the Swedish marque wondered what the future might hold in store for this revered, safety conscious label. Well, the future is here now in the form of the Volvo Inscription S60, a special lengthened version of the S60 sedan. At 185.6 inches in length, it stands 3.5 inches longer than the base model S60 four door. The Inscription is the first Volvo built in Chengdu, China, of parts that are 60 percent Chinese and 10 percent Japanese. This luxurious and expensive ($45,925) sedan carries a turbocharged 2.0 liter engine also built in China. Its 8-speed automatic transmission comes from Japan. In view of this disparate sourcing of parts, just how much Volvo DNA remains? Thankfully, quite a bit.

2016 Volvo S60 T5 Inscription FWD

For starters, the Inscription has so many available safety features that its Swedish reputation for precaution remains strong. For example, “City Safety” – a low speed collision avoidance system – is standard issue on this car. Even the engine cover is made of dense, pliable foam. If you order the “Platinum” group of accessories ($3,000 extra), Volvo includes a “Technology Package” which provides collision warning with full auto brake, as well as pedestrian/cyclist detection with full auto brake. In a world replete with drivers more intent on reading their handheld devices than the road ahead, these safety features greatly improve your chances of accident avoidance.

Some of the other features of the Platinum group, however, are more annoying than useful. For example, the Lane Keeping Aid is helpful in the sense that warning lights on your exterior rearview mirrors illuminate when hidden traffic pulls alongside. But the same system goes overboard when you change lanes without using your blinker, something I prefer to do with no traffic nearby. Under these circumstances, the Volvo’s steering goes artificially light and the steering wheel itself wobbles gently in your palms. The feedback is similar to having your front tires aquaplane in heavy rain. It’s completely distracting and unnecessary, and thankfully Volvo provides a switch to delete this lane change punishment.

2016 Volvo S60 T5 Inscription FWD

Although Volvo offers a number of more powerful engines in the S60 range (250hp inline 5, 302hp turbo inline 4, 345hp turbo inline 6), our test Inscription made do with the adequate but unexciting 2.0 liter turbo inline 4, which returns the best fuel consumption of the bunch at 29 MPG overall. The 8 speed gearbox compensates nicely for the underwhelming output of the 240hp motor by allowing you to stage your passing needs by selecting an appropriate gear before stomping the accelerator. You’ll need to plan ahead with this package for your acceleration requirements, because the engine must spool to 5600rpm for maximum thrust. Luckily, the 3,610 lb. sedan makes peak torque of 258lb.-ft. at just 1500rpm, so launch from a dead stop is decent. Volvo has incorporated an automatic start/stop system, ostensibly to save fuel while idling at traffic lights. This device shakes the whole car every time it re-fires the ignition. Although you can delete it, you have to do so every time you re-start the Volvo. It’s a design that should never have made production.

2016 Volvo S60 T5 Inscription FWD

Inside the cabin, the Inscription will win over drivers accustomed to Audi/BMW levels of design simplicity and sophistication. The front seats are heated, but if you want heated rears plus a toasty steering wheel, you’ll need to pop $1,300 extra for the “Climate Package.” Lavish expanses of matte finished, open pore barn wood lend a country inn felicity to the Inscription’s interior environment. Glass area is immense, a bonus that leads to excellent vision in all directions. Such niceties as Park Assist and rain-sensing wipers come standard. The Platinum group includes a nifty grocery bag holder which flips up from the trunk floor to act as an anti-slide partition. I used it to keep a storage box from roaming the trunk on a twisty section of road.

2016 Volvo S60 T5 Inscription FWD

Speaking of the twisties, the S60 is not particularly well acclimated to such driving usage. Granted, it rolls on 18 inch alloy rims bearing 235/45R18 Pirelli Cinturato P7 tires that uphold their end of the contact patch bargain. But the S60′s suspension is calibrated for comfort over handling, so the Inscription tends to bottom its shocks over mild depressions. Push it hard enough and the suspension hikes itself into the air as you try to make quick transitions on a curvy road. This Volvo offers a great freeway ride, but you won’t be blowing off any BMWs or Audis on the back roads.

2016 Volvo S60 T5 Inscription FWD

  • Engine: 2.0 liter inline 4, turbocharged, direct injected
  • Horsepower: 240hp@5600rpm
  • Torque: 258lb.-ft.@1500-4500rpm
  • Fuel Consumption: 25MPG City/37 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $45,925
  • Star Rating: 8 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2013 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R

Tuesday April 30th, 2013 at 11:44 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Sleeper Backroad Burner, Quality Fit and Finish
Gripes: No Paddles, Tight Back Seat

Ever since Ford sold Volvo off to the Chinese several years ago, the Swedish automaker has been having a tough go in the marketplace.  Thankfully, not as bad as Swedish compatriot Saab, which recently declared bankruptcy and closed its doors, but still concerning enough to make marque loyalists fret.  But if the latest S60 R is indicative of Volvo’s future, the company outlook is very bright indeed.  In fact, just as bright as the piercing shade of Rebel Blue that graced our scintillating test car.  If you’re in the market for a 4 place sports sedan, you’ll definitely want to consider the S60 R as a top contender, because it beats the competition from Audi and BMW in almost every department while costing considerably less.

For example, the base price of this twin turbocharged road burner is just $43,900.  Even with the addition of a $2,300 Platinum Package (Navigation, Back-Up Camera) and $700 Cold Weather Package (Heated Front Seats and Washer Nozzles), this Volvo’s out-the door price totaled $48,195.  A comparable BMW 3 Series sedan starts about the same price as the Volvo ($43,150) but by the time you’re finished toting up the laundry list of extras, the BMW costs almost ten grand more than the S60 R.  And in a straight shoot out based on performance, I’d take the Volvo every time.  The “R” branding starts under the hood, where the 3.0 liter six is mounted sideways rather than lengthwise to minimize front overhang.  This long stroke (93.2mm) small bore (82mm) motor is designed to make most of its torque low in the rpm range.  Between 2,100rpm and 4,200rpm, the big six produces 354 lb.-ft. of torque.  This wide rpm spread allows you to access instant power, no matter which gear the Geartronic 6-speed has selected.  Volvo has also upped horsepower output this year from 300 to 325hp at 5,600rpm.

Although the Geartronic system lacks paddle shifts, the console-mounted shift lever features a unique illuminated knob which highlights the range you’ve chosen.  Sport-Mode, activated by moving the lever backwards and left, allows you to select your preferred gear manually.  In practice, however, this manipulation is hardly ever necessary, due to the abundant torque of the R-specification motor.  The S60 is fitted with a unibody steel passenger safety cage, dual stage front seat airbags with anti-whiplash headrests, and side impact head protection for all 4 seats.  All that safety gear is as reassuring as the S60’s exceptional handling.  Volvo has not stinted in supplying the “R” with premium “Sleipner” alloy wheels that look like Cuisineart blades.  Continental provides top notch ContiSportContact 235/40R18) rubber at each corner, and Volvo stiffens the suspension of the “R” to take maximum advantage of the Conti’s mountain goat traction.  This sedan will corner with the best contenders from Germany without giving them an inch advantage.

Saving the best for last, the cockpit of the S60 R is a splendid exercise in Swedish modern design.  Unlike most dashboards, which look like they were cobbled together by 20 different parents, the S60 R control layout looks like one mastermind did the trick.  The fact that almost every surface is matte black makes the Op Art aluminum center stack throb with visual excitement.  It contains just 4 large, simplified knobs which control radio volume, radio tune, and thermostats for driver and passenger.  Like the silver center stack, the boldly delineated “Blue Watch Dial Instrument Cluster” is also startlingly impressive.  Bold, concentric rings of silver and ice blue convert the 8,000rpm tachometer and 160mph speedometer into Swatch-like chronometer faces that are as easy to read as they are refreshing to see.  Volvo designers also supply just enough “R” model designations (front grill, headrests, steering wheel spoke) to this sedan, without resorting to undue braggadocio.  The all-wheel-drive S60 R is an affordable sports sedan for the owner whose ego needs no reinforcement from badging.

2013 Volvo S60 T6 AWD R

  • Engine: 3.0 liter inline 6, DOHC, Continuous Variable Valve Timing, Twin-Scroll Turbo
  • Horsepower: 325hp @ 5,600rpm
  • Torque: 354 lb.-ft. @ 2,100rpm-4,200rpm
  • Fuel Consumption: 18 MPG City/25 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $48,195
  • Star Rating: 9.5 out of 10 Stars

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2012 Volvo S60 T6R Review

Tuesday February 14th, 2012 at 11:22 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Pros: Snarling performance, Extreme safety shell, Indolent comfort
Cons: Sedate looks

Volvo skipped the 2010 model year in order to bring the S60 back in 2011 as a completely revamped product. For 2012, the company is enhancing the S60’s sporting proclivity by offering an “R” version of the standard T6 (turbocharged 6 cylinder) motor to increase horsepower from 300 to 325 and torque from 325 to 354 lb.-ft. In addition to this Polestar Performance Tuning, the R package also includes such R Design niceties as 18 inch alloy wheels, sport chassis, front spoiler and intake, rear spoiler and diffuser with polished exhaust tips, sport seats with embossed logo, ribbed aluminum pedals, blue watch design instrument faces, and perforated leather sport steering wheel and shift knob. In other words, it’s pretty hard to ignore Volvo’s sporting intention in building this R variant of the S60: it’s the quickest sedan Volvo has ever built.

The R Design is a treat to drive. Even though the 235/40R18 Continental ContiSportContact 3 tires are rated for all-season use, they function remarkably well in dry conditions. As the S60 reaches the limits of adhesion, the Contis make a reassuring chirp at each apex to let you know their full adhesion has been reached. The all-wheel-drive sport chassis of the S60 is similarly telegraphic, issuing clear messages about road condition, tire grip and car position through both the chunky steering wheel, and the nicely retained seat of your pants. This Volvo is a carefully calibrated precision instrument for quick sports motoring. The steering feedback can be altered to suit your taste, with three settings available (low, medium or high feedback). The S60 R also offers an Active Chassis management plan which allows you to tailor ride and handling to your taste, with comfort, sport and advanced settings instantly available through dash button manipulation.

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2013 Volvo S60 R-Design

Tuesday November 1st, 2011 at 2:1111 PM
Posted by: AKramer

By Alex Kramer


  • Gutsy turbocharged V6
  • Well-balanced ride
  • High quality interior
  • Good fuel efficiency


  • Outdated 6-speed automatic transmission
  • Handling is a bit soft for a high performance sports sedan

Ask any car enthusiast what they think of Volvo, and most will probably comment on the unique boxy exterior design, or the brand’s extensive focus on safety, or the practicality of a wagon with more trunk space than most SUVs. Discussions of performance or driving excitement probably won’t enter the picture.

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2011 Volvo S60 Review – Naughty by Nature

Friday January 28th, 2011 at 9:11 AM
Posted by: gmchan_66

By Gary Chan


  • Impressive engine and suspension
  • Quiet cockpit
  • Driver comfort and controls
  • Active Cruise Control


  • Lack of keyless entry at this price point
  • Navigation input/lag and interface
  • Rear visibility with tall/thick C-pillar that reach the taillamps
  • Bluetooth setup

My family owned a sky blue 1974 Volvo 144 sedan that we purchased new and had for a number of years. My childhood memories of that large car include its heavy feel, slow acceleration and sleeping steering. Absolutely nothing that would stir the senses. Fast forward 37-years, and times have sure changed for the better. Light, nimble, and fast (complete opposites of the 144) are the adjectives I’d use to describe the new redesigned S60 during my long weekend with the car.

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Volvo's Collision Avoidance System Fails, Result Is A S60 Swedish Pancake

Tuesday May 11th, 2010 at 8:55 AM
Posted by: michael.leroy

2011 Volvo S60 CrashHuman error is likely to blame for new safety system failure

Volvo has been touting its collision avoidance system on the new 2011 S60, but there is one problem, in a recent test the system didn’t work. With no driver on board, the S60 slammed into the back of a truck. Evidently the failure was a result of the avoidance system being disabled.

In Volvo’s defense, the system was working perfectly earlier in the day. During the last test, a crash-test-dummy was stuffed into the driver seat and sent on its way. Volvo is claiming the car’s battery was not working right and as a result the system was disabled. Perhaps the system is disabled when the battery is low?

Video of Volvo’s “oopsy” after the jump

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All-New 2011 Volvo S60 – A jaywalker's best friend

Thursday February 11th, 2010 at 10:22 AM
Posted by: michael.leroy

2011 volvo s60Eight engine options and new safety tech round out the new S60

Volvo has lifted the veil of secrecy surrounding the new S60 and we how have details on the finalized specs of the car. If you read our last article about the new 2011 S60, there will be few surprises. Earlier this week, the Swedish automaker spilled the beans about the new safety features and engine options available in the S60.

Like everybody expected, the S60 features Pedestrian Detection. This new safety system is a first for any car and at speeds under 21 miles per hour apply full braking power to bring the S60 to a complete stop. At higher speeds, the system will try to slow down the car as much as possible to minimize injury to the pedestrian. The system uses both a camera and radar system to detect pedestrians.

The system even pre-boosts the brake system to be ready to deliver maximum stopping power as soon as the safety system detects danger. Volvo claims this technology will reduce pedestrian fatality risk by 20 to 85 percent. The S60 will also apply the brakes if it detects a possible collision with another car or any other stationary object.

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Volvo Releases Teaser Video for the 2011 S60

Thursday February 4th, 2010 at 8:22 AM
Posted by: michael.leroy

2011 Volvo S60A Volvo drifting in the desert! Really?

Volvo has released an exciting new teaser video showing off the all-new 2011 S60 a month ahead of its public unveiling. The advertisement shows the new Swedish car blasting down the highway and drifting in the desert with dramatic music blaring in the background.

Much of the new S60 is still a mystery, but expect to see the existing five and six-cylinder engines to carry over. It has been rumored that a direct-injected, turbocharged, 1.6-liter will also be included in the engine lineup. There may even be a hybrid model in the future.

In the transmission department, a standard six-speed manual will hopefully be included. More than likely, a six-speed automatic will be standard. The video shows for a brief second the driver shifting an automatic transmission. In a video trying to show off just how sporty the new S60 is, Volvo really should of shown a manual transmission instead of the automatic.

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